Pyaasa was the very first Guru Dutt movie with Anju when I had just entered my teens. I was not aware of Guru Dutt’s serious movies and Anju told me of the Guru Dutt week they were having at Topiwala theater in Goregaon. So we went down (walked down from home) & saw the movie. It was one of three Guru Dutt movies I saw that week. Pyaasa the story of a sensitive poet who finds himself unappreciated by most of those that he meets, and finds emotional succour from the unlikeliest of people (Gulabo, the streetwalker with the heart of Gold), who buys his poetry from the raddiwala, loves it and the two actually meet when she recites a poem he has written. The movie has outstanding acting by Guru Dutt (as Vijay), Waheeda Rehman (as Gulabo), Mala Sinha (as the lady who has been very much in love with Vijay but who marries a rich publisher, Rehman), Mehmood and Johnny Walker. Of all these, the surprise in the pack undoubtedly is Mehmood, who unfortunately got stuck to comic roles later in life and never got an opportunity to actually show the entire spectrum of his acting prowess.
The movie has truly eternal music by the man who chose to be an Emperor and rule the hearts and minds of an entire country, rather than the King of a small territory, Sachin Dev Burmanda, who gave up every material possession for the love of music. His creativity is on resplendent display in the movie. Sahir Ludhiyanavi wrote the lyrics (as he had not yet had the famous fallout with Burmanda). Rafisaab is at his very best: singing all across the spectrum from Jinhe naaz hai Hind par wo kahan hain to Sar jo tera chakraye and a few romantic ones as well.
Look at this exquisite number. Sahir’s skilled wordcraft on show that is matched and even embellished by Rafisaab’s divine voice that recites the poetry , rather than singing. https://youtu.be/SqqpIR39Y_I
The emoting by both Guru Dutt and Mala Sinha who on hearing a familiar voice, looks up, startled, from the piece she is reading from the magazine, is just awesome. They let their faces and eyes do the talking, captured wonderfully by Guru Dutt’s favourite lensman, V K Murthy who was an unquestioned wizard with an Arriflex and monochrome film.
तंग आ चुके हैं कशमकश-ए-ज़िंदगी से हम
ठुकरा न दें जहाँ को कहीं बे-दिली से हम
हम ग़मज़दा हैं, लाएं कहाँ से खुशी के गीत,
देंगे वहीं जो पाएँगे इस ज़िन्दगी से हम..
मायूसी-ए-मआल-ए-मोहब्बत न पूछिए
अपनों से पेश आए हैं बेगानगी से हम
लो आज हम ने तोड़ दिया रिश्ता-ए-उमीद
लो अब कभी गिला न करेंगे किसी से हम
उभरेंगे एक बार अभी दिल के वलवले
गो (माना के )दब गए हैं बार-ए-ग़म-ए-ज़िंदगी से हम
गर ज़िंदगी में मिल गए फिर इत्तिफ़ाक़ से
पूछेंगे अपना हाल तिरी बेबसी से हम
अल्लाह-रे फ़रेब-ए-मशिय्यत कि आज तक
दुनिया के ज़ुल्म सहते रहे ख़ामुशी से हम
Amazing poetry, really unfair to classify Sahir as a mere lyricist. Some words some might have difficulty understanding/ appreciating: कशमकश-ए-ज़िंदगी: struggle of life मायूसी-ए-मआल-ए-मोहब्बत: sorrow of consequence of love, रिश्ता-ए-उमीद: आशा का धागा, thread of hope, वलवले: शोरगुल, आवेश, बार-ए-ग़म-ए-ज़िंदगी: the burden of sorrow of life फ़रेब-ए-मशिय्यत: divine deception
The trio ideally suited to elevate a simple recital to such sublime heights pull off the near impossible. Rafisaab, Sahir, and Burmanda’s minimalistic composition ….
The same ghazal was set to tune by Sahir’s great friend, Datta Naik, ( aka N Datta) for Light House which starred Ashok Kumar and Nutan. This has been sung beautifully by Asha Bhosle. Take a listen: https://youtu.be/bKvkL–3ROg
Those were the days of effective simplicity. Of the KISS philosophy. (Keep It Simple, Stupid) Today you will have such a song being shot in a sequence that takes you through countries from Iceland to Namibia to Tasmania to Fiji to Lesotho with a different troupe of male and female dancers voyeuristically ogling the lead pair while clothed in some curtain cloth all the time dancing in unison to rather suggestive steps and gesticulations. That is if you find a so called lyricist to write actual poetry rather than string along a random set of words, some utterly meaningless, just because they happen to rhyme and can fit a plagiarized tune from Ghana/Korea/Indonesia/Mali (ask Annu Malik or Preetam and their ilk)
Stay happy and healthy, folks. Take care in the blazing summer. Hydrate yourself well, especially if you are consuming ground water from borewells , lest you land up with a few stones because you concentrated body effluents.